Amid the 24/7 media machinations over the latest imaginary crime against humanity President Donald Trump has committed, there lurks a danger to this republic greater than any posed by a foreign nation or even our own civil war.
And no, it is not COVID-19.
As devastating as the pandemic has been, it is not and will not be the end of us. Medical knowledge and treatment protocols have expanded exponentially since last spring, and with doses of the vaccines currently in clinical trials being manufactured in tandem, what normally would have taken years has been condensed to months. We will, without a doubt, emerge victorious.
No, our greatest threat today is not biological. It is social. It is a “cancel culture” that prioritizes feelings and emotion over facts and reason, a visceral and vicious virus that destroys anyone and everything unlucky enough to be in its path.
But what makes this particular virus especially dangerous is it’s spreading like wildfire throughout newsrooms across the country.
When former New York Times Editor Bari Weiss could no longer tolerate the hostile work environment created by having a different opinion than that of her “woke” leftist colleagues, she wrote in her resignation letter how “forays into Wrongthink” made her a target of constant bullying, that “Twitter is not the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor” and revealed “the truth is that intellectual curiosity — let alone risk-taking — is now a liability at the Times.”
A month earlier, her colleague, James Bennet, was forced out by young staffers’ outrage over his decision to publish a piece by Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., outlining a president’s duty to deploy federal troops to restore order when state and local authorities have failed. He used reason, logic and fact to support his position, but the young mob at the Times had no interest in a debate. They wanted a head, and they got one.
Closer to home, the Chicago Tribune Guild executive board, the journalists union, got its pound of flesh as well.
On July 22, columnist John Kass wrote a piece titled: “Something grows in big cities run by Democrats: An overwhelming sense of lawlessness.” It was quintessential Kass — facts and reason mixed in with Midwestern common sense.
But this time, he committed the cardinal sin in the Reformation Church of Woke Journalism. He dared to mention the connection between George Soros campaign dollars and liberal prosecutors that were releasing “the violent on little or no bond.”
The Soros defense league immediately sprang into action, with the guild writing a letter to Tribune management attacking Kass for anti-Semitic tropes and demanding an apology.
Said letter started with an ad hominem attack — “another John Kass column antithetical to our values ...” — and rambled on with numerous other opinions that shared the guild’s view, opinions that included plenty of accusation and name-calling but disputed not one fact actually written in Kass’ column.
Thankfully, there would be no apology — at least not from Kass.
His column a week later opened with: “The angry left-handed broom of America’s cultural revolution uses fear to sweep through our civic, corporate and personal life. It brings with it attempted intimidation, shame and the usual demands for ceremonies of public groveling. It is happening in newsrooms in New York, Philadelphia, Los Angeles. And now it’s coming for me in an attempt to shame me into silence.”
He then referenced news reports from outlets such as the Sun Times, Politico, Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post that proved what he wrote was not “trope” but was verifiable, factual truth.
Yet it was all for naught.
Before that column had even posted, Editor-in-Chief Colin McMahon had already bowed to the mob and announced that Kass would be removed from the Page 2 spot that had been a staple of the paper’s layout for decades. (Before Kass, it was home to Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Mike Royko.)
The excuse was to distinguish between opinion and news. The irony is not lost. As more and more news oozes with opinion language and editorial slants to the left, the idea of ending a decadeslong tradition under the guise of “journalistic integrity” is shallow at best.
Whatever the final death toll from COVID-19 comes to be, there is no number that will bring us down. We have survived far worse, and we will survive this.
What we can’t survive, however, is a one-party press silencing anything not pure to the ideological narrative of the day.
Intellectual diversity has been a bedrock of this nation since its founding. We lose that, and we lose everything.
And that, my fellow Americans, like it or not, is fact.
Geoff Caldwell lives in Joplin. He can be reached at email@example.com.